In a bit of a surprising move last week, the Los Angeles Rams decided to part ways with star running back Todd Gurley. It put Gurley on the open market for the first time in his career, which it didn’t take long for him to find a new home in the NFL. He quickly landed with his hometown team on a one-year prove-it deal. In the days that have followed that move, it became apparent that star wide receiver Julio Jones played his part in convincing Gurley to the Falcons.
Rams release Todd Gurley
In the first several weeks of the offseason, there was chatter that the Rams could have an interest in moving on from Gurley.
The 25-year-old was coming off a rough season that saw him fail to produce like an elite running back. The precautions around the health of his knee has continued to stay a prominent factor as it limited his role on the field while he didn’t display the same explosive play that the Rams had grown accustomed to seeing from the star running back.
It saw Gurley’s production dip significantly as he fell short of reaching 900 rushing yards and didn’t post a single 100 rushing yard performance. These underlying issues only pushed the Rams to move on from him to avoid an additional $10.5 million salary-cap hit.
The move ended his highly productive tenure with the franchise, where he had established himself as one of the best players in the league. Oer the last five years he’s second in the league with 5,405 rushing yards, first with 58 touchdowns, second with 7,494 total scrimmage yards, and first with 70 total touchdowns.
How Julio Jones helped the Falcons land Todd Gurley
For the first time in his career, Gurley hit the open market with the ability to choose his next landing spot in the NFL.
It didn’t take long for him to decide on joining the Falcons, especially after he received some recruit to make the move. During a recent appearance on the “Green Light with Chris Long” podcast, Gurley revealed that Jones was one of the first people to visit him after the Rams released him, and that quickly saw star wideout to convince him to sign with Atlanta. (H/T Mark Inabinett of AL.com)
“The dude that came over to my house as soon as I got cut – Julio [Jones]. Julio and Deandre [Hopkins], they both pulled up to the house and came and checked up on me. Chopping it up with Julio. That’s why I was like, ‘I’m trying to get to the A.’ Going back to Georgia. Going back home. I was waiting for it.”
There is an apparent strong bond between Jones and Gurley that extends well off the football field, and the situation has worked out perfectly for them to play together. With the Falcons letting go of Devonta Freeman, it opened up a need to address their situation in the backfield.
Gurley now has the chance to play alongside Jones as well as Matt Ryan and Calvin Ridley as the centerpieces of their offense with the hope of making a strong playoff push next season.
Falcons’ game plan for Todd Gurley
It’s no secret that there is a strong level of concern over the long-term health of Gurley’s knee.
That’s likely the reason why he received a one-year deal with the Falcons as there are doubts that he could recapture his previous form. That places a great deal of importance on Atlanta handling the situation properly to get the most of their new star running back.
It’s also a chance for Gurley to prove that he struggles last season were no indication of what type of player he is at this stage of his career. There is plenty of reason for optimism for the Pro Bowler to get back on track as one of the top running backs in the league.